Prince William is the cover star of the latest edition of gay magazine Attitude, becoming the first ever British royal to do so.
The Duke of Cambridge was photographed after meeting with staff at the magazine and nine members of the LGBT community to discuss the impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying on the mental health of victims.
In a message to young readers of the monthly lifestyle magazine he said: “You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”
The issue was published on Wednesday last week, just days before a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that weekend and left as many injured. The incident has been described as a homophobic terrorist attack.
At the royal meeting in Kensington Palace last month, the Duke heard how bullying had led to low self-esteem, suicide attempts, eating disorders, depression and drug addiction including, in one case, the death of a young man after an unintentional overdose.
The father-of-two, who is second in line to the throne, told Attitude: “No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives.”
He praised the individuals’ “sense of strength and optimism” saying it should “give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it.”
He added: “What I would say to any young person reading this who’s being bullied for their sexuality: don’t put up with it – speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need.”
The interview is part of the Heads Together campaign by the young royals, including The Duke, his wife The Duchess of Cambridge and brother Prince Harry, that aims to end the stigma around mental health. The Duke has also established a taskforce on the prevention of cyberbullying.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The Duke knows that LGBT young people suffer unacceptably high rates of bullying and he was grateful to Attitude for facilitating such a serious conversation on this topic. He was moved by the stories he heard and impressed by the positivity and courage of the people he met.”
Attitude editor Matthew Todd said: “During my time as editor of Attitude I have met parents whose child has taken or lost their life after being bullied for being LGBT+ or even just perceived to be LGBT.
“I am very happy that the future King of The United Kingdom agrees this must stop and I would urge parents in particular to raise their voices in their communities to ensure that every school protects – really protects – all children.”